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"Arbitrary and capricious" | Two plastic surgeons file lawsuit against Knox County officials, claim mask mandate is unconstitutional

The doctors argued that the July 1 mask mandate by the Knox County Board of Health is "arbitrary and capricious," as well as unconstitutional.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — A lawyer filed a lawsuit against Knox County health officials on behalf of two Knoxville-area plastic surgeons on July 24, over the Knox County Board of Health's mandate to wear masks inside public areas.

Knox County Glenn Jacobs briefly mentioned the lawsuit during a board of health meeting on Wednesday, July 29. The lawsuit argues that the mandate is "arbitrary and capricious." It also claims that the mandate was unconstitutional, asking for a Knox County Chancellor to stop the order.

Steven Smith and Jason Hall are listed as plaintiffs in records of the lawsuit. It names Martha Buchanan, the director of the Knox County Health Department, and Jach Gotcher, the Chair of the Knox County Board of Health, as defendants.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs said their rights as doctors are being infringed by the mandate.

Mayor Jacobs was served with the lawsuit this week, according to records. The board voted on the mandate to wear masks inside of public buildings on July 1 and it took effect July 3.

Since that vote, several other East Tennessee counties have adopted mask mandates.